Every human being would prefer to stay as he or she is. After all, change is difficult. Change is similar to a complete makeover. Just imagine, reorganizing your whole life on a regular basis and you will see why people who could most benefit from change resist it. There are people who have learned that change is inevitable as well as rewarding and manage to take change in stride. On the other hand, there are people who cannot change no matter how bad life gets for them. It is these people I am writing for and about. In recent months, I have interacted with individuals who would rather cling to poor choices than make changes in their lives. I have been researching this topic and want to share some basic insight about why some individuals greatly fear change.
- The need to place blame. When a person has been raised in a home where blame must be assigned, it is difficult to shake that need. The person does not want to be blamed and if you are not blamed, who can the blame rest on? From this viewpoint, it is easy to see the stress that not placing blame can cause. The truth is, no one has to be blamed for things that happen in life. Misunderstandings, accidents, and even deliberate actions do not call for blame. Rather, issues that occur in life simply mean that either accidents happen or a person requires emotional assistance. Consequences for maladaptive behavior may be assigned but blaming others for behavior has no value in that blaming does not result in a suitable remedy.
- Lack of self love. Many children simply do not experience love during their formative years. Parents may be self involved and lack empathy and therefore, the child grows up feeling unlovable. As an adult, an individual can frame a picture of his or her child self or think of a memory of him or herself as a child. It is important that the adult regularly send love to their childhood self via the photo or memory. If an adult cannot find love for his or her childhood self, he/she should observe children playing and think about whether or not he or she could see the children as being bad. The truth is, children are at the mercy of their parents and cannot help whether or not their parents show them love. All people are deserving of love, especially children.
- Trying to create the perfect original family. Many people fall into the trap of trying to make their childhood family perfect. They spend countless hours trying to teach their family new skills only to fail repeatedly. The truth is that one’s family will never be perfect. One person changing will not convince other family members to change. It is best to accept one’s family of origin as they are, mourn the loss of an adaptive family, and move forward.
- Celebrating skills learned in childhood. Even though the behaviors learned in childhood are rarely useful in adulthood, celebrating the use of those behaviors in childhood is important. Many children literally survived by using the behaviors they possess today. Celebrating those behaviors is a sign of recognition that those behaviors were necessary for survival at one time.
- Embracing more adaptive skills in adulthood. As adults, we need to learn new skills in order to make it in the adult world. We are no longer beholden to our parents for survival. Failure to adapt makes successful adult relationships impossible. Additionally, if we do not learn new, adaptive behaviors in adulthood, we are likely to repeat the troubled, lonely life of our childhood.
All the best!
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